Wednesday 26 May 2010


It is clearly something that happens about 6 months into a placement but one seems to be thinking about home quite a bit, one's home comforts etc. I've noticed it with other volunteers that it happens about the same time. They have said to me that they miss things like good coffee and cheese. I don't drink coffee so no worries there and much as I love a nice piece of cheese, I haven't had those intense cravings for it that others have described - paneer being no substitute for a good strong chedder, a solid tangy Red Leicester, or a ripe and runny Brie, whichever your favorite cheese tipple is.

So it got me thinking about what I really am missing and what I will and won't miss when eventually I get home - these are not in any particular order and iinclude some surprise when I started to list them out .... so excuse the indulgence but these are what I am missing
  • Green grass
  • Blue skies
  • Seeing the stars in a cloudless night sky
  • Sleeping outside
  • Clean air
  • Dry air
  • Dry heat
  • Recycling
  • Stimulating conversation
  • Being touched
  • Cuddles and hugs
  • Soaking in a bath tub
  • Pottering in the garden
  • the sea breeze
  • peace and quiet
  • a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc
  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Oatmeal biscuits
  • Full cream milk
  • Cream
  • Trifle
  • roast lamb
  • smoked fish
  • crunching on a crisp raw carrot, in fact being able to eat cold and raw food
  • boiled ham
  • good quality muesli
  • muesli bars
  • choice
  • chats with friends
  • exercise
  • a good film
  • a comfortable chair
  • lounging on a big sofa or relaxing on a comfy floor mattress
  • the warm glow of a winter's log fire ( OK I know it is it is hot here but there is something about those flames)
  • 24hr broadband
  • and last but not least Axxxx - tu me manque :(
what I won't miss when I get home
  • plastic chairs and the consequential sweaty bums
  • dahl
  • train horns
  • Indian long haul trains which either arrive or leave in the wee small hours of the morning
  • tasteless naan - although yesterday I had my first really nice one, so light and tasty it was almost like filo :)
  • marble foors - becoming second only to glass table tops as the bane of my life
  • boiling and filtering drinking water
  • ants
  • humidity
  • curry
  • very very sweet Indian sweets and drinks like Thumbs up, sweetened toothpaste
  • power cuts, planned and unscheduled alike
  • street dogs - I've recently encountered a particularly snappy, barky one, mutual instant dislike.
  • sweeping the floor with a grass brush
  • washing the floor every other day in an unending attempt to rid the house of the soot from trains
  • washing clothes by hand and having them still smell stale even when freshly laundered
  • room fans which blow up all the dust and dry your eyes out so you wake up feeling like they are on stalks
  • the time it takes to get things done
  • Indian officialdom and bureaucracy
what I will miss when I get home
  • the cheapness of food
  • tasty potatoes
  • the way Indian mobile telephone companies message you after a call to tell you how much the call cost and to update your balance
  • cheap telephone calls
  • colourful saris
  • Shalwar Kameez - I  love wearing these, especially the shalwar and will more then likely bring some home
It will be interesting to compare this list from 6 months in with what my cravings will be at 12, 18 months into this sojourn and with what I indulge in once I get home.


  1. It will be interesting to compare your list as your time away from home increases.

    I was struck by your inclusion of Choice - and then surprised to see it so low on the list.

  2. Molly, I didn't list them in any particular order, but I know from other volunteers that they are often overwhelmed by choice when they return home. Choice is an interesting one. It isd not like I don't have any choice here - I do have a choice of food - I can buy apples and/or I can buy grapes, I can buy fish and/or I can buy chicken, but I can't buy cauliflower all year round, I can mostly only buy veg that is in season, and sometimes that limits my choice. But at least I have a choice, I don't have to eat rice and dalh every day for every meal. On a more esoteric level, I have of course made a choice to come here, that type of choice is not open to many here, even well educated ones. And as for choice of life partners, well enough said. This type of expereince just goes to reinforce how lucky I am to have been born where, and to some extent, when I was - I am healthy, I have a reasonably good life expectancy, I have an education, I've had work, I've had a good income level - sometimes more sometimes less, I've lived in other countries and cultures, I can travel easily to most places, I had a carefree happy childhood, I have friends outside of family, I can make choices about how I live my life. Yep, very lucky.